A harrowing, edge-of-your-seat narrative of murder and secrets, revenge and heroism in the City of Angels, GANGSTER SQUAD chronicles the true story of the secretive police unit that waged an anything-goes war to drive Mickey Cohen and ......more
A harrowing, edge-of-your-seat narrative of murder and secrets, revenge and heroism in the City of Angels, GANGSTER SQUAD chronicles the true story of the secretive police unit that waged an anything-goes war to drive Mickey Cohen and other hoodlums from Los Angeles after WWII—the real events behind the highly-anticipated Warner Bros. film starring Sean Penn, Josh Brolin, Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone.
A full decade before J. Edgar Hoover’s FBI even acknowledged the existence of the Mafia, the Los Angeles Police Department launched the real-life Gangster Squad with eight men who met covertly on street corners and slept with Tommy guns under their beds while combating what city fathers saw as an “invasion of undesirables.” The squad planted bugs in mobsters’ bedrooms and took visiting hitmen into the Hollywood Hills for a chat … and a pistol in their ear. But for two cops, all that mattered was nailing Mickey Cohen, the strutting little gangster who for 15 years made a mockery of law and order in Los Angeles. Sgt. Jack O’Mara was a square-jawed church usher, Sgt. Jerry Wooters a cynical womanizer. About all they had in common was their obsession with the pint-sized Brooklyn-born prizefighter who rose to the top of the L.A. rackets following the murder of his mentor Bugsy Siegel then flaunted his stature by holding court every night along the Sunset Strip. So O’Mara set a trap for Mickey – using his own guns -- to prove he was a killer. And Wooters formed an alliance with Mickey’s budding rival, Jack “The Enforcer” Whalen, an intimidating figure with movie star looks and dreams of making it in Hollywood. Two cops -- two hoodlums. Their fates collided in the closing days of the 1950s, when “The Enforcer” stormed into Rondelli’s restaurant to have it out with Mickey and his crew. Then a bullet between the eyes signaled that the Gangster Squad’s time was up and so was a formative era in the city’s history.
PAUL LIEBERMAN is a journalist with more than a quarter century of experience as a writer and editor at the Los Angeles Times and Atlanta Journal-Constitution. He has won dozens of journalism honors, most for investigative projects, including the Robert F. Kennedy Awards Grand Prize, a George Polk Award, Gerald Loeb Award, American Society of Newspaper Editors Award and Scripps Howard Foundation Award. He also shared in two team Pulitzer Prizes at the L.A. Times, as a writer on its coverage of the Los Angeles Riots and an editor of its reporting on the Northridge Earthquake. A native New Yorker, Lieberman is a Phi Beta Kappa graduate of Williams College and was a Nieman Fellow at Harvard, where he studied law and social history. He lives in Westchester County with his wife, a school administrator.
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